The Chaos of Christmas: Doing or Being In the Season?

Winter pic copy

White-gray snow still covers patches of our backyard. The time to celebrate Jesus’ birth draws near. Wrapped gifts sit in the family room, ready to give to those we want to bless. The externals of Christmas are prepared.

But what about who I am on the inside?

Here I am on December seventeenth, soul thirsty—dried out and weary from the busy-ness this season has already pressed upon me.

Image

This Advent season, I purposed to settle in and focus on what—on Who—we’re celebrating. Instead of filling more shelves with toys, more hangars with clothes, our family opted to spend most of our money on gifts for those who have nothing.

Yet, even knowing we’re making changes in our priorities, my heart . . . it feels down. The busy-ness of the season, the preparations for celebrating Jesus’ birth have stolen the joy I thought I would feel with the changes.

My soul craves the peace, the rest only Jesus gives. A fresh drink of His hope, His joy. Though I seek to celebrate Him, I am frail and limited in my ability to do this well.

To be still in His presence.

Image

Image

Instead, to-do’s rush through my tired mind, spurring my weary body onward to cross off the next item on my list.

Somehow, I thought the automatic result of making changes in how we “do” Christmas this year would be peace.

Peace doesn’t come in the doing. It comes in the being.

Being close to Jesus. Spending time in His word, in prayer.

Being still in His presence as many days of this busy season as I can. Even this is hard because my lists remind me of all I must do in the next few days.

Being willing to die to self, to have eyes wide open to see how I can be the blessing to those who people my days.

Being . . . what?

Being content that I am one of God’s girls, that He loves me. And letting that BE enough for this season.

Image

I can’t be everything to those around me.

This practice of simply being stretches me. Hard. Till I feel like I’m at the end of myself.

Even in the busy-ness of this season, I can simply be as I spend time with Jesus. As I seek to be peace to quarreling sons, to a bone-weary husband. As I seek to gift love to those I care for with every cell of who I am.

And those I find difficult to love? I can ask God to love them through me, to soften my heart until it beats like His for them.

It’s as I lay myself out flat before Jesus—yielding to Him my discouragements, disappointments and hopes—I can be filled up by Him.

Image

Perhaps as I focus on being rather than doing I will know His peace, know His joy filling the emptied out person I am right now. And my heart will be prepared to celebrate all that Jesus is and all He’s done.

What about you? How do you maintain a hopeful heart during the Christmas season? How do you purpose to be a blessing to others in this time of year?

Advertisements

23 thoughts on “The Chaos of Christmas: Doing or Being In the Season?

  1. That’s a very honest and thoughtful post – I think it will get a lot of people thinking.

    For me, the holiday season is shaping up as physically brutal, and I’m trying to get through each hour. I’d love to be a blessing to others, but I don’t think that’s an option.

    But there is no busy-ness, and there are no expectations. A good point at which to be, but the road by which I have gotten here is not to be recommended.

    Like

  2. I need this, Jeanne, SO MUCH!!! I was sinking into the dark well yesterday and between prayer and my own desire to NOT fall further, I simply gave it all to the Lord and pushed through the fog.
    To know I am not alone in the feelings of being overwhelmed is a wonderful, courage building thing!!!!

    THANK YOU!!

    Like

    • Thank you, Jennifer. And thanks for the encouragement that I am not a lone either. :)I hope the Lord meets you where you are and fills you with His joy and His peace in the “doing” that must be accomplished. May you “be” in His presence each day.

      I appreciate you!

      Like

  3. Jeanne — this is exactly how I feel.
    …soul thirsty—dried out and weary from the busy-ness this season has already pressed upon me…
    I too cut way back this year; yet still I long for presence, not presents. I long for the world to know and hear HIM, not the glitz of what Christmas has become.
    Beautifully written. I’m going to come back and re-read it daily!

    Like

    • Aww, thanks! Yes, I am seeing I’m not the only one trying to “do Christmas well” and failing. I’ll pray for you to know and to dwell in Jesus’ presence even as you go about those daily activities. I hope He speaks to you exactly what you need to hear each day. And may He use you in unexpected ways to be light and joy to those in your life who don’t know Him yet!

      Like

  4. My life is far from what I had hoped for and expected this Christmas, and I can only maintain a hopeful heart by spending time in His Word and in His Presence. By trusting Him and praising him despite my circumstances. He will bring bring good and blessing out of hardship, and I’m clinging to that promise. Thanks for sharing, Jeanne.

    Like

    • Gwen, thanks so much for stopping by! Such good words. It’s as we choose to focus on and trust Him that we can know His peace, regardless of our circumstances. Thanks for the reminder of this. I’m praying for your Christmas season and that your heart will cling hard to Jesus.

      Like

  5. I dunno – for me, the holiday season always finds me in a dark funk – been like this as long as I can remember. Advent, church events, sitting with family; changes nothing. We put up our tree this year for the little one just a couple of days ago. I don’t “feel” the season, and can’t remember that I ever have.

    Growing up, we always did stuff. Had people over, lots of “busy-ness” – was always just going through the motions. I guess I still do.

    Like

    • I’m sorry to hear it’s a funk-time of year for you, Gabe. That’s a tough way to walk through a long season. Maybe your little one will help add a little wonder and joy to it for you this year? Sometimes seeing the holiday through the eyes of our children brings it to life in a new way. I hope there’s a bit of light for you this year. 🙂
      So glad you stopped by!

      Like

  6. Pingback: The Chaos of Christmas: 11 Gifts (Tips) For Thriving in the Busy-ness | Jeanne Takenaka

Comments are closed.